Major Elements of the Christian Marriage Union and How to Avoid Shipwreck

by Tom Ackerman , Christian Examiner Contributor |

(Photo: Vidar Nordli-Mathisen/Unsplash)

It is a secret to no one that marriage among Christians and in this society is in shambles. It is a shipwreck. Your average minister has gotten to the point they just throw their hands in the air and give up; they either don't talk about marriage often, since it's so appallingly painful to bring up, or they lower the standards immensely, so we can feel good about ourselves. Some go so far as downgrading the importance of marriage and children, trying to sound spiritual along the way. Yet one cannot downgrade the importance of marriage. Both Old and New Testament instruct the brethren to get married and bear children, and give countless demonstrations of its importance. You cannot avoid the shipwreck, brothers, by claiming the ship wasn't all that important to begin with.

Christians break up their marriages and take new spouses at nearly the rate of the unbeliever. Christian husbands find that their wife will not submit to them, Christian wives believe they have a right to rebel, and it's a sure thing you either know someone, or could find a dozen online who are deprived of intimacy by their spouse, usually by the woman. The young put off marriage, or won't get married, sharing the same fear of failure as anyone else, and sharing the same desire for a comfortable life which presumably includes postponing marriage. As Christian and formerly Christian nations fill up with Muslims and Hindus or anyone who shows up and wants a job, the Christian family in the West is without children. Somehow they figured out how to lie next to each other for twenty years and not make babies. An entire society is deprived of a future this way, and Christians made it happen. Beyond their relentless disobedience to God's commands for marriage, they have simply replaced the awesome calling of marriage for a life based on pursuing the highest educational platform, a dream job, a good salary, home, cars, vacations, and a retirement fund. They have drained marriage and the family of its core spirituality, and made it a thing of self-pleasure. Perhaps that's why it's not "good enough" for them, and they so often split it up.

This is an emergency, brethren. That is why I say what I do. God has not left it unclear what our path is, but rather the Church has rebelled and has turned from it. Marriage is a lifelong union of man and wife, who portray Christ and His Bride, that holy people He calls forth and washes clean, and even portray the nature of Almighty God. The man is the head of the home, who leads and guides the ship. A head has real authority, brethren, just as any authority in the Bible, be it God, governments, masters, or parents. He's the King. The wife is the picture of the blessed people God has chosen in His Son, and we can see that blessed people through her meek and quiet spirit, her holiness, and her submission to her husband.

In Christian marriage man is the provider. He works and provides money for his household, along with spiritual guidance and protection. The woman is not called to that same responsibility. She is different, and has a different role. In the Christian home the wife cares for the children, and is a homemaker. They are words that would get you despised in most Christian environments in the West, but that is the plain teaching of the Word of God. The Christian home is filled up with her life, heart, and joy, as she brings her softer form of wisdom to this sacred environment, and nurtures the children. She brings teaching for the children, wonderful cooking, and if possible homemade goods for family and community. The Christian home will have many children, barring accident or illness. The Bible teaches that children are a blessing, and treats abundant children that way, too. We are instructed to raise up a godly seed to the LORD, so bearing and educating children is among the core purposes of marriage. It is a great responsibility and honor. There will indeed be abundant seed in the Christian home, along with happiness, closeness, and peace, if we follow God's command for our bodies: that we share ourselves intimately with the other, and never refuse the other, but by mutual agreement for fasting purposes. Husband and wife belong to one another, as do their bodies. Abundant intimacy will bring with it the purposes it has – the blessing of children to carry on the faith, and spiritual and emotional unity.

Marriage is by its nature for life. It is not lifelong in intention but by nature, as it is a union formed by God. When God joins us together we are united in a covenant which ends only with the death of one partner. We live together, train up children together, and grow old together. If the worst happens, and one partner walks out, we are commanded in clear language that we must remain unmarried, or reconcile with our partner. Taking a new partner is the sin of adultery, according to the New Testament, and this is a sin anyone practicing must repent of. It is a hard walk for those who have a sinful spouse, but God calls us to sacrifice, as well as to forgive, and it does not seem harder than much of what the Christian must do for his faith. If your partner departs, you remain single. God can then use you mightily for His purposes. He can wield His army of celibate saints to His glory, just as He used celibate believers throughout much of Christian history. Where is His army of celibate saints?

That, in brief, is what the New Testament teaches on marriage. That is what most of the Church rebels at. That is what grates against the flesh, and the desires of the mind. Yet brethren, we are a new creation. We are filled up with grace and the Holy Spirit. This walk of faith in marriage, that so conflicts with our personal lusts, is not beyond us. It requires only that we submit ourselves to God, lower ourselves – as the Christ who lowered Himself – and live for God in obedience. We need to take the Bible at its word, and take it above the words of compromised pastors, or our worldly friends. We need to make holiness our lifestyle, leaving behind the goals of money, comfort, and personal fulfillment. We must repent of ours sins, and if we are living in a union God calls adultery, leave it behind so as to honor God, before pleasing our own heart. We also need pastors who will preach the truth and lead the flock. Do this, brethren. It is the calling of God. Do not be afraid, or think it too hard. You will have victory over this world, for the victory that overcomes this world is our faith.

–Tom Ackerman earned a BA in Writing from St. Edward's University. He lived overseas for twelve years, and came to faith at age 31 in Krakow, Poland. He's since been sharing the Gospel, and held many jobs, including teacher, travel writer, and street performer. 

He is the author of the new book, Get Married and Save the World, a doctrinal and practical guide to the main elements of the Christian marriage union. It is also a call to Christians to live fully in the Holy Spirit and reject the flesh, in our families and our homes.  The book will appeal to readers who know the Church has turned away from God's Word and is soaking in carnal goals. Its readers should take away a broad and deep understanding of marriage and be confident in their own marriages to bless the world.